Mexico is a perennial under-achiever in the world’s biggest competition. Drawing their strength from their impressive backline, Mexico will be finally looking to get past the round of 16, but first, face a tricky group phase.
Qualifying comfortably, once again, from the CONCACAF group, Mexico qualified for their 15th finals in 15 attempts. They have never made it past the quarter-finals despite having boasted some top talent along the way. Mexico’s biggest problem seems to be their lack of consistently competitive matches.
Ranked 15th by FIFA, Mexico always seems to underachieve in finals. We put this down to an overinflated ranking owing to a lack of quality in their opposition.
Mexico Squad Outlook
Goalkeepers: Guillermo Ochoa, Alfredo Talavera, Jesus Corona
Defenders: Carlos Salcedo, Nestor Araujo, Diego Reyes, Hector Moreno, Hugo Ayala, Oswaldo Alanis, Edson Alvarez, Jesus Gallardo, Miguel Layun
Midfielders: Jesus Molina, Rafa Marquez, Hector Herrera, Jonathan dos Santos, Andres Guardado, Erick Gutierrez, Marco Fabian, Giovani dos Santos
Forwards: Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, Raul Jimenez, Oribe Peralta, Jesus “Tecatito” Corona, Carlos Vela, Javier Aquino, Hirving Lozano, Jurgen Damm
Squad Talk: With a group of players that emanates mostly from Mexico and South America, many of these names will be unfamiliar to a lot of European fans. However, there are players here who have made the cross-over to more competitive leagues
Giovani dos Santos and Jonathan dos Santos play for LA Galaxy, and Carlos Vela for LAFC have made their way in the MLS.
Javier Hernandez is the name most people will likely know. Spells with Manchester United, Real Madrid, Bayer Leverkusen and West Ham United have made him a household name. He is Mexico’s all-time leading goalscorer and is clinical in front of goal. On the downside of a very successful career, Mexico will need his goals if they are to finally push on into the later stages of the competition.
Fast and dynamic, Hernandez allows Mexico to sit in and play on the break. Despite moving back up a step in his return to the Premier League, he still scored 8 goals in 28 games for a poor West Ham Team. If he gets chances you can count on him to take them.
Who’s The Gaffa
Juan Carlos Osorio is a journey-man manager despite only being 56. He’d already held the top job at 7 teams in his 9-year career before being appointed Mexico manager. The Columbian has had only moderate success in his club career, with his best spell coming at Once Caldas in Columbia.
He seems to have found his place now though, leading Mexico to fourth place in the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia. However, all may not be as good as it seems as Osorio is rumoured to have turned down a contract extension and this may be his last tournament as manager of El Tri.
Likely Group finish: 3rd
Mexico always seems to underachieve, but maybe that’s just their level. They have qualified with ease, and won’t be tested until they get to the finals. They are always well organized at the back, and very difficult to break down. In a group featuring Germany, they will be fighting for the second spot with Sweden, and I think they’ll just miss out in that final group game
Lazy Fan Fact:
Mexico has won an astonishing 10 CONCACAF Gold Cups